Archives for category: Music

Take a five minutes in your busy day to listen to this beautiful aria by Heitor Villa-Lobos, performed by soprano Kathleen Battle accompanied by Christopher Parkening on guitar.

ABOUT THE COMPOSER: Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959) was a Brazilian composer, described as “the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music.” Villa-Lobos wrote numerous orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and vocal works. His music was influenced by both Brazilian folk music and by stylistic elements from the European classical tradition, as exemplified by his Bachianas Brasileiras (Brazilian Bachian-pieces). (SOURCE:

“Blues for Alice” is a 1951 jazz standard, composed by Charlie Parker. The song is noted for its rapid bebop blues-style chord voicings and complex harmonic scheme –an example of what is known as “Bird Blues.” Parker first recorded the piece in August 1951 for Verve Records. The lineup consisted of Parker, Red Rodney (trumpet), John Lewis (piano), Ray Brown (bass) and Kenny Clarke (drums). (Source:

This old-timey track features English tenor Ernest Pike (1871-1936) and Eleanor Jones-Hudson (1874-1946), a soprano from Wales, singing “Oh! That We Two Were Maying,” with lyrics from the Charles Kingsley poem.  Ernest Pike was one of the most prolific tenors in the history of recorded music, and also appeared regularly in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas.

Renowned Irish tenor Frank Patterson (1938-2000) sings “Bring Flowers of the Rarest (Queen of the May).”

“Flight of the Wild Geese,” written and performed by Joan Armatrading from her album Gold (2003) and featured in the 1978 film The Wild Geese, starring Richard Burton.

lyrics by Joan Armatrading

Sad are the eyes
Yet no tears
The flight of the wild geese
Brings a new hope

Rescued from all this
Old friends
And those newly found
What chance to make it last

When there’s danger all around
And reason just ups and disappears

Time is running out
So much to be done
Tell me what more
What more
What more can we do.

There were promises made
Plans firmly laid
Now madness prevails
And lies fill the air.

What more, Oh
What more
What more can we do.
What chance to make it last

What more
What more can we do.


ABOUT THE COMPOSER/SINGER: Joan Armatrading is a British singer, songwriter, guitarist. She is a three-time Grammy Award-nominee and has been nominated twice for BRIT Awards as Best Female Artist. She also received an Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Contemporary Song Collection in 1996. In a recording career spanning 40 years, she has released a total of 18 studio albums, as well as several live albums and compilations.

In her Hello Kitty hat, violinist Yunho Jeon plays “May Song,” a tune for beginners studying violin under the Suzuki method.

We’re celebrating all things May during the month of May — and how can we forget Mae West (1893-1980)? Here is the inimitable Ms. West singing the Doors‘ hit “Light My Fire,” from an album called Great Balls of Fire (MGM Records, 1972), available at

On May 24, 2003, Paul McCartney makes his first visit to the Soviet Union, and performs his greatest hits, including “Maybe I’m Amazed,” for over 100,000 people at Red Square in Moscow — moving even grown men to tears. This clip is from McCartney Live in Red Square (2003), available at

ABOUT THE CONCERT: For the Russian audience, McCartney’s appearance in Moscow is little short of a miracle. The Beatles were banned for decades by the Soviet government, which regarded their music as the epitome of Western decadence and propaganda, and the fans’ only access to the group was through the occasional black market album. Their reaction to his 2003 visit is a mixture of frenzy and rapture. In interview after interview, what one fan calls the Beatles’ “gentle intervention” is credited with helping to bring down the whole Soviet system, simply because they represented a creativity and freedom that had been almost totally silenced.

You say tomato, I say tomato…Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (music  by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin) in the 1937 movie Shall We Dance. In this clip, Fred and Ginger not only sing, but also dance on roller skates. A classic!

The Royal Choral Society in a 2012 performance of the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah by G.F. Handel — a work first performed at The Great Music Hall in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742,